By Alphonsus E.W
Over the course of history, media has acted as an effective tool used by different countries to assert their control and give them an edge amongst sister-countries jostling for socio-political and economic relevance on the regional, continental and global map.
With the launch of CNN in the 80’s, USA effectively began to assert itself as a global superpower in an imperceptible manner, pulling away from the two-horse race it had been in with the then USSR for about a quarter of a century.
By the outbreak of the Gulf War, CNN was the only news network reporting the war. America was giving the world details and whether the facts were true or false, there was no one to collaborate their chest-beating claims.
If America said you are black, everyone saw you as black and try as you might, even if you were otherwise, you could not shake off the tag. When America told the world that Iraq was harboring nuclear weapons, no one could refute their claims. After all it was CNN reporting it. They had attained the unquestionable level of the irrefutable source of incontrovertible facts. It didn’t matter when, months down the line and with the hated despot Saddam Hussein out of the way, there were no weapons of mass destruction unearthed from the sand dunes of the Iraqi Desert.
Hollywood has changed the way the world thinks. Hollywood says it is okay to be smart, gay, trendy, cocky and opinionated and the world applauds, accepts it and even falls head over heels to do the subliminal commands dished out by its brilliant film directors.
They have assigned Nigeria and Africa in general, the denigrating term of the dark continent, implicitly saying,’ everything dark and evil happens there.’ No wonder, no one wants to go ‘there’. Award-winning Nigerian Author, Chimamanda Adichie warned against the danger of a single story. They have succeeded in pigeon-holing us into the box of a single story.
So it is against this backdrop that the Ndani TV initiative, powered by multiple award-winning financial behemoth, GTBank needs to be lauded. Nigeria has been painted as the worst place to visit on planet Earth yet most people would admit that the country is not as dangerous as places like Columbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine and even South Africa.
In the latter’s case, for all its famed beauty, sophistry and hospitality, it remains a very unsafe place to visit as its principal cities like Johannesburg and Durban retain the dubious distinction of being rife with criminals of different shades and ilk.
But while South Africa has been able to launder its image via its various media channels, thereby positioning it as a tourist and investment haven, Nigeria has not been so savvy. The task of managing the country’s image has instead been taken over by well-meaning indigenous entrepreneurs who may or may not have the financial muscle to fully implement whatever good ideas they might have.
Enter Ndani TV. Floated in April 2012, Ndani TV has quietly but effectively gone about its task of remolding the image of Nigeria in a favourable light. Ndani, which means ‘Inside’ in Swahili, is a new age digital media project with its principal platform being online. It revolves around four spheres; Music, Technology, Fashion and Business. It is meant to project Nigeria, nay, Africa as a domain where indeed good things, very good things can come from.
The picture quality is almost flawless, the cast, both on-screen and back-stage include some of the best the country has produced and the wealth of content available is, to say the least, awesome. As much as the country’s media channels receive a lot of flak for being below-par in their overall output, it’s a refreshing sight to see an indigenous media company raise the bar in the media entertainment field. One hopes that this does not go the way of other well thought-up initiatives that have over time lost touch with their initial focus and vision.
GTBank deserves a lot of commendation for this initiative. In the bank’s words at the unveiling of the top-notch online TV; “Ndani was borne out of our desire to project Africa to the world. It is our gift to mother Africa and our opportunity to make her proud. Through this platform, we would tell the world about Africa; her vast culture, numerous natural resources, beautiful landscape, exceptional talents and rich history.” It can only be hoped that Ndani TV will soon take its pride of place in on cable and terrestrial channels.